poem index

poems & poets

Search over 2,500 poet biographies, over 7,000 poems, as well as essays about poetry, and some of the most important books, anthologies, and textbooks about the art form ever written. To search by keyword, use the search bar above.

poems

poem
Fred Sanford's on at 12
& I'm standing in the express lane (cash only)
about to buy Head & Shoulders
the white people shampoo, no one knows
what I am. My name could be Lamont.
George Clinton wears colors like Toucan Sam,
the Froot Loop pelican. Follow your nose,
2
poem

The child tells me,  put a brick in the tank,  
don’t wear leather, don’t eat brisket,
snapper, or farmed salmon
—not tells,
orders—doesn’t she know the sluice gates
are wide open and a trillion gallons
wasted just for the dare of it?  

Until the staring

poem

The sea
calls to witness
some vastness

or that which
is only a declaration
of the limited
and the countable.

And the sun some tourist
wades out each morning
in obligation

to touch
for a few moments
and to forget and drown.

And

texts

text
Poetic Terms/Forms
2015

epic: A long narrative poem, exalted in style, heroic in theme. The earliest epics all focus on the legendary adventures of a hero against the backdrop of a historical event: think of the Trojan War and Odysseus’s action-packed journey home in the eighth century BCE Homeric epics the Iliad and the Odyssey, the models for epic poetry ever since; or the territorial battles of a warrior culture in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, dated between the eighth and eleventh centuries; or the preservation of a city and a civilization in the Babylonian Gilgamesh (ca. 1600–1000 BCE). These epics seem to be the written versions of texts long sung and retold, composed and recomposed by many epic singers over time, all telling the tale of a tribe. The first audiences for the epics were listeners, the later ones readers. Aristotle (384–322 BCE) considered the Homeric epic the prototype of tragedy. The epic carried important cultural truths but, as M. I. Finley puts it, “Whatever else the epic may have

text
from American Poets
2015

Irony certainly isn’t the first word that comes to mind when we think of the poems of Walt Whitman, whose vast, brilliant, and uneven body of work is more often characterized by terms like earnestness and sincerity, directness and plain speech. This most American of American poets invented, after all, free verse as we know it, and not just in terms of an open, conversational voice, presented in an arrangement on the page often determined by content rather than by strict measures.  His form mimics the process of thinking itself, and he allows the poem, in a markedly modern way, to grope toward meaning, using metaphor, image, analogy, and argument in ways quite unlike the dominant verse of his time. He gives a kind of breathing, seemingly spontaneous form to his questions, and thus his readers feel involved in a process of coming to knowledge, brought into an intimate relationship with at least a version of the speaker’s subjectivity. In this way he seems, along with his fellow

text
Poetic Terms/Forms
2014

nocturne A night scene. John Donne was the first English poet to employ the term nocturnal to designate a genre in “A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy’s Day, being the shortest day” (1633). Donne sets his poem at midnight (“’Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s”) and creates an elegy on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, by borrowing from the night offices of the Roman Catholic canonical hours. In early church writings, the term nocturnes (Nocturni or Nocturna) refers to “night prayer” or night vigil. The notion of associating night with spiritual contemplation goes back at least as far as the Neo-Platonists. “I shall sing of Night, mother of gods and men,” one Orphic hymn begins. “The night is often the secret site of initiation, purification, and other threshold activities bridging the relation between what is human and what is not human and providing a context for changed roles and states of being,” Susan Stewart writes, pointing to the Japanese tradition of night

books

book
Anthology
2004
Isn't It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets
book
Poetry Book
2010
Juvenilia by Ken Chen
book
Poetry Book
2015
I Must Be Living Twice by Eileen Myles